Artificial intelligence is being implemented in industries across the gamut, so why not use it to improve something that occupies a full quarter of your life — your sleep?
In the past few years there has been a sharp increase in direct-to-consumer mattress startups that offer easier access and lower costs. However, the customer still needs to figure out what kind of mattress works for them — firm or soft, better for side or back sleepers.
There’s no need to figure that all out alone, says Lloyd Sommers, General Manager of Responsive Surface Technology (ReST). The sleep technology startup uses AI to optimize your night for you, starting with your bed.
“Our sensing technology monitors the sleeper’s pressure and position to change the surface of the bed for their optimal sleep,” Sommers says.
The Atlanta-based ReST was founded by CEO Rob Golden in 2013 and launched in retailers in 2015.
The sensing technology was created by Golden originally as a dental tool to help measure a patient’s bite strength. Golden took the dental sensor to market with startup Tekscan, eventually acquired by GE.
A while later, Golden acquired a Canadian company’s sensor technology that was used for paraplegics and burn victims who couldn’t easily sense pressure or re-position. He saw an opportunity to integrate the sensor into mattresses.
“We use that same sensor technology… and use it in consumer mattresses because it’s stretchable, breathable, easy to mass produce, and durable,” says Sommers.
The ReST mattress’ smart fabric senses shifts in pressure and responds in real-time to change the pressure of the mattress, improving body and back support. Over time, it collects sleep quality data, based on the user’s pressure on the surface, and learns more about their sleep patterns.
It also includes the option to integrate with other smart devices, like a Nest thermostat, smart lights or alarm systems, to create a holistic bedtime environment that will improve the user’s sleep.
“For example, when you lay on your bed, the mattress can turn off the lights and set the alarm automatically. That’s our ultimate vision: to be the brand of the bedroom by using the ReST bed as a platform,” says Sommers.
Sommers shares that while users can manually play around with the sensors on the app, the real goal is “not to give people data, but for the bed to work in the background to help you sleep better. You don’t want screens or tables in your bedroom, you need an environment conducive to sleep.”
The startup is looking into other ways to incorporate their technology into other facets of sleep. “We want to employ the same technology for a pillow. Why can’t the pillow automatically adjust as your neck moves positions and help with snoring or sleep apnea?”
“We’re also looking at adding mattress toppers with the sensors at a different price point if you don’t need a new mattress,” says Sommers. Their primary customers right now are early technology adopters, athletes who need to optimize performance, and retired couples.
The startup is focused on establishing their first brick-and-mortar store in Atlanta, set to open later this year.
“We’ve always had the unique product, will soon be opening our own store, and we’re investing more and more in the digital space. No one in the industry has all three and we’re excited because we think that’s the formula,” says Sommers.